Certificate in Mental Health

Mental health is integral to and inseparable from public health. Mental and substance abuse disorders impose large and growing lifestyle and financial burdens on the United States as well as globally. These impacts are felt not only directly, but also indirectly through adverse medical conditions and health behaviors. The life circumstances of individuals, their families, and their communities are altered and often radically so.

The certificate in mental health program was developed to address these integral relationships between mental health and public health. Its purpose is to bring together faculty, students, and practicing health professionals in order to foster enhanced research and learning experiences through interdisciplinary, interdepartmental, and inter-school activities. Students completing the program will be able to epidemiologically describe the burden of mental illness on society, apply theories and evaluate empirical evidence on determinants of mental health, design and critique interventions intended to promote mental health, and identify the sources of financing and public policies that affect mental health services.

This certificate program builds upon existing classes and faculty expertise and is open to all master's students at Rollins. It is anticipated that the certificate in mental health program will build a community of interest from across the school and from other units at Emory University and the larger community. Affiliated faculty and professionals that are drawn together for this concentration may contribute to a growing set of research activities available to students and may provide students with the capacity to contribute to improving mental health and associated public health policies. 

Students with a certificate in mental health will be able to:

  • Apply and critically evaluate epidemiological methods establishing case definitions and determining the incidence and prevalence of mental illness and related disability
  • Describe the incidence and prevalence of mental disorders, related disabilities, and their social correlates
  • Identify how culture influences the expression of symptoms, seeking of care, and response to treatment
  • Describe how the U.S. currently finances mental health services and its cost burden for individuals and society
  • Describe proposed policies for improving access to and quality of mental health services in the U.S. and assess their strengths and weaknesses
  • Describe the mental health advocacy community and their avenues for influencing mental health policy
  • Integrate mental health into a comprehensive view of public health
  • Apply expertise for the major program of study to mental health or mental health services
  • BSHE 592/HPM 592, Case Studies in Public Mental Health, 2 credit hours: This course is the core course for the Certificate in Mental Health. Offered each spring, any current first-year student enrolled in the master of public health or the master of science in public health program at Rollins that plans to pursue the certificate in mental health must enroll in BSHE 592/HPM 592. Participating certificate students will be identified based on their enrollment in this course.
  • Completion of a practicum (minimum of 200 hours) related to public mental health
  • Thesis or capstone project on topic in public mental health
  • A minimum of six credit hours from the following courses (or from courses approved by Dr. Benjamin Druss, Dr. Delia Lang, or Zarie Riley):

BSHE 512 Medical Sociology, 3 credit hours

BSHE 516 Behavioral Epidemiology, 3 credit hours

BSHE 560R Mental Health Seminar, 1 credit hour

BSHE 565 Violence as a Public Health Problem, 1 credit hour

BSHE 581 Stress Reduction, 1 credit hour

BSHE 585 Public Mental Health, 1 credit hour

BSHE 586 Prevention of Mental and Behavioral Disorders, 2 credit hours

BSHE 587 Seminar in Substance Abuse, 2 credit hours

BSHE 588 Addiction, the Brain, History and Culture, 3 credit hours

BSHE 589 Mental Illness, Public Health and American Culture in Interdisciplinary Perspective, 3 credit hours

BSHE 591M/EH 580 Injury and Violence Prevention, 2 credit hours

EPI 560R  Psychosocial EPI, 2 credit hours

GH 531 Mental Health in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies, 1 credit hour

HPM 563 Long Term Care Policy and Practice, 2 credit hours

HPM 577 Mental Health/Medical Interface, 2 credit hours

SOC 330 Mental Health and Well-Being, 4 credit hours

SOC 513, Perspectives on Mental Health, 2 credit hours

Any 300 level or above Psychology classes

If the topic of the capstone or thesis cannot relate to public mental health, four additional credits of electives may be substituted with the permission of the certificate coordinator. Permission for the substitution must be obtained early in the second year of the program.


For inquiries about the Certificate in Mental Health, please contact:

Zarie Riley, MLA, Certificate Coordinator

Benjamin Druss, MD, MPH, Program Co-Director

Delia Lang, PhD, MPH, Program Co-Director